It has not rained during a Mamaroneck High School graduation in recent memory, so the principal, Dr. Mark Orfinger, was easily forgiven for suggesting that Tuesday’s storm would “blow over.” In the end, however, this year’s ceremony will be remembered less for the speeches than for the weather.
Nearly 350 seniors marched onto the Mamaroneck football field, many of them wearing sunglasses given out as party favors at the senior prom. By the time salutatorian Jennifer Fasman finished her speech, however, the audience was a sea of umbrellas. And by the time valedictorian Andrew Katzenstein began his address, LMC-TV cameramen were battling the wind and rain in an attempt to keep their equipment dry.
Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried and School Board President Linnet Tse each received congratulations for deciding to skip their speeches in the face of threatening weather. (You can read what they intended to say on the district website.) The rain only served to reinforce the messages they would have delivered.
Dr. Fried called the class of 2009 “by far the most resilient class this high school has ever seen.” Ms. Tse celebrated the accomplishments of a diverse and extraordinary class, and reminded the students, in the words of Dory from Finding Nemo: ”When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do . . . Just keep swimming . . . “
Faculty speaker Darren Bosch described the graduates as “a nice class,” notwithstanding their end-of-year water gun “Assassin” pranks and library light saber wars. He remarked on their talent, sense of humor, kindness and genuine concern for others.
Mamaroneck Teachers’ Association President Ann Borselino presented the one award given at graduation, the annual Boothby Award, which goes “to the graduating senior who best exemplifies the ideals of public education.”
This year, said Ms. Borselino, the faculty couldn’t come to consensus, so they opted to give two awards. One went to Kenny Burr, ”an active member of the school community” and the “first to say thank you to his teachers,” said Mr. Borselino. She cited his work on MHS Info, the pep talks he gave the football team, his leadership as a Caprice advisor, and his receipt of the prestigious “Twelfth Man” award.
The other award went to student body president Elise Geithner, described as “a dynamo” who “made an impact on this high school from the first day of freshman year.” Ms. Borselino elaborated: “Need help with homework, need help with Chinese, need help preparing for a Regents, need help decorating the gym, need a campaign manager for the ‘mock Presidential debate,’ need help rebuilding homes after the flood of April 2007, need to help children in Thailand, need to reinstate SAFERIDES, need to send a Card for a Cause, need an editor and chief for the yearbook, need a student to be liaison to the board of education, need a president of student council, need a member of the National Honor Society? “ Then, said Ms. Borselino, you need Elise.
Despite the rain, the Class of 2009 observed tradition by tossing their caps in the air. Photo by Island Photography
In the end, the pounding rain abated just in time for the students to receive their diplomas and leave their flowers, student IDs and other memorabilia at the podium. Although some family members were cold and miserable, others felt the rain made the ceremony “funny” and ”more memorable.”
Mamaroneck High School Class of 2009
Valedictorian: Andrew Katzenstein
W. Cameron Allen
Flor De Maria Bonilla
Christian J. Degenhardt
Taylor Del Villar
Salutatorian: Jennifer Fasman
Sienna Anne Martz
Ana Maria Quintanilla
Ricardo Sanchez Jr.
George Alexander Schieferdecker
Stephen van Eyck
2 comments to MHS Graduation Marked More by Rain than by Speeches
In reference to the Bootby Award, in fact the faculty did reach consensus. After extensive discussion of the fine qualities of these two amazing young people, we decided, by acclamation, to give the award to both Elise and Kenny.
I don’t see any African-Americans. When I graduated from MHS, a lifetime ago, there where a lot of African-Americans. Has it changed??